Little Waltham Drama Group Cinderella by John Morely January 1995

 

I always enjoy the anticipation of a pantomime in-Little Waltham, I know it will be well produced and have just the right atmosphere for a family show.

I do hope you had a really good turn out of children, from where I was on the Friday night there did not seem to be many.

A Useful item on your programme was a list of the musical numbers, it does make my life easier: Your programme is always particularly good with lots of information and well set out.

PRESENTATION

Set Always difficult in a village hall with such a small stage, but you manage somehow to make the space seem so much bigger. The back cloths were of your usual high standard.

Furniture Very little as there is not time or room for much, except the bed with its flying sheets, and boudoir scene, both of which worked well.

Properties Good and appropriate to the show, brushes and mops routine etc.

Costumes No doubt many of them were hired and looked good. I thought however that the Prince's and Dandini's were a little short and seemed to be skimped with the amount of material. There does have to be quite a lot because of the movement. The Prince's stock shewed his/her neck for instance. The wigs were good, also the villagers were spotless. The Ugly Sisters outdid anything I have ever seen they were superb in their vulgarity, as were their wigs. The wigs give the characters a 'picture book' look so important in a show like this. Make up very good in the true pantomime style, but don't forget to look in the mirror in the interval and see if it is lasting, very often it s needs attending to, particularly those with a character make up.

Lighting This was good and atmospheric. Very gentle for the wiry God Mother and the elves. There could have been a slightly more definite strobe effect at these points I thought. Go-d and spooky for the bedroom scene with ghosts etc. The lights on the coach were most effective.

Sound effects These were not altogether successful and the transformation scene seemed ragged.

Music This was good, really was an accompaniment. The sons were appropriate and did not go on too long (John Morely suggests this I know in the script; Intelligent use of piped music at times.

Musical Numbers

Hall of the Mountain King, An unusual opening number with the elves and fairies on stage developing into the first scene with the FGM explaining what it was all about.

Pantomime Tonight A good chorus number developed from the Prince and Dandidni

All I do is Dream of You Cinderella and the Villagers, Cinderella very good in this number and established her character well, but the girls in the chorus had little facial expression. It is much more difficult than it appears to be in the chorus as you have to be animated all the time (the adults are very good at this) but not all the girls were, even to the extent of locking a bit glum! However the routine was good, ending in an effective tableau with C'ella lifted high.

Sisters A song absolutely suited to this pair, they milked it unashamedly very funny. A good routine to accompany the singing with some fooling in the middle then more singing. I would have it cut a bit and left us wanting more, ie audience did and you gave them an encore:

Once a year day A good number well sung by the Prince and Dandini and company, all animated by this time, and it worked well. Lots of business all the time which added Enormously to the spectacle.

Almost like being in love What happened here I don't know, but you were flat. Maybe its very much more difficult than it seems, but it was not very tuneful, but it was well put over.

Whistle while you work Cinderella, elves fairies and villagers. A well choreographed number with lots of animation throughout. '.pork got done and the song sung and C'ella had very good rapport with her helpers.

A whole New World This was one of the best moments in the show. Each standing at the side of the stage on your own and singing out front, each in character which you maintained throughout. It was very tuneful and touching, and the most difficult song to date I think.

Bibbidy, Bobbidy Boo PUP and the Elves, a good pantomime number with a simple routine which worked well.

Reprise of A whole new World to accompany C'ella off to the Ball, this was sung tunefully by the company as the finale of the first act. It worked well. ......

I could have danced all night a good accompaniment to the ball room scene by the Palace guests.

Horsy Horsy again good pantomime stuff. It was simple and yet I know terribly difficult, but we enjoyed it because all those on stage yhought it was wonderful and your enjoyment was catching. I felt it went on a bit long (dont forget these are my personal comments, albeit informed and independent!)

Any Dream Will Do Good number with chorus and Prince, complicated with the chorus singing in parts, unfortunately the last note was not good.

Buttons We Love you A very charming number with Buttons and the elves and fairies. He had a very good rapport with them all, it was well sung and the movement was well rehearsed and thus effective.

Horsy Horsy again. Well managed with so many on stage, the getting on and off was complicated.

Its Not Where You Start A good finale number, a simple verse sung several times, and can be again and again with slight variations. There were wedding bells and cheers too. Real celebration.

 

PRODUCTION

Use of Stage You all know your stage and have to use every inch of it. This you do.

Grouping By this I mean what does the stage look like at any one moment. In pantomime the action is generally very fast but there were some very good moments when the villagers were on either side of the stage with the principal in the centre and of course the departure of Cinderella was a splendid set piece.

Movement There must be dance, but it must be simple and effective, it was. Everyone moved with skill up and down the different levels which cant be easy. The chorus movement was very good, all swaying or gently moving all one way, it does make such a difference, and gives an air of professionalism.

Entries and Exits So important in this sort of show. On with a bang, everyone did this, energetic from the word go. I like very much your use of the hall for both entries as well as exits. The Ugly Sisters were particularly fine coming through the audience, some very good exits this way as well.

Pace. This was very good throughout. Fast and furious for the most part, but when Cinderella was on it slowed down, so we had the necessary variation, which worked well.

Teamwork Absolutely vital in a show of this kind, but most important with the Ugly Sisters. They were wonderful together. I believed in the relationships of the Prince and Dandini, and later the Prince and Cinderella, also Buttons and Cinderella,

Interpretation Pantomime has to be done in a very special way, you manage to performed well in this particular style. The style really has two parts. Those who play the story for real, and those who are the pantomime characters. The real ones are Cinderella, the Baron, the Prince and Dandini (most of the time) and the FGM, whereas the rest are different and play to the audience almost all the time. This must be remembered all the time and its gets even more complicated with the villagers etc as most of the time they have to be sincere, but now and again they are there for Not everyone was quite in the right category, more of this later.

 

ACTING/SINGING

 

Prince Charming You have a good stage presence and a stillness when required. A very good understanding of this straight part. You looked good and had several changes of costume. Your relationship with Cinderella was good, as it was with

Dandini. Your singing on the whole was good, except in one song with which I think you found particularly difficult. A good performance

Dandini. Quite a change to have a half-bad Court Chamberlain. I felt you enjoyed this and made the most of your opportunities. A good performance

Baron Mum. Good attack from the start, very good with. Cinderella, and your boastful bits about the Baroness and then complete capitulation were much enjoyed. I would have liked you to have had your hat off once or twice when at the Ball for instance, it somehow didn't look right.

Maxi Mum and Mini hum Very funny and appalling from your first entrance. You looked fantastic in your outfits and wigs and preened yourselves in an hilarious fashion. Your love hat relationship was well played and though individually so good together good together you were superb Played throughout with enormous energy which carried us along with your antics amidst much laughter. There were many good moments and you timed so well. An excellent duo.

 

Cinderella very sincerely played. The fact you were tiny besides the horrid sisters worked well. Your songs came over ell and your relationship with everyone on stage was very real. Well done.

The Baroness I felt you enjoyed playing this tyrant which you did with gusto. You do however have to be careful not to smile when firs your boa and then your hat is whisked off near the beginning, we were enjoying your discomfort, you were not supposed to as well. A good booming voice and your bullied the Baron Most realistically. You might possibly have been quicker on cue at times.

Buttons From the first moment you carne on, we knew we were in for a true pantomime characterisation, you talk to the audience and ad lib so well. Some of it must have been rehearsed but there were one or two cheeky ones in the audience on Friday night with whom you coped extremely well. Your pockets routine worked well. Your relationship with Cinderella was good and your song with the elves and fairies so different from the rest, it was very charming.

Fairy Godmother A good performance, but this is one of the characters that have to be played straight, without any direct contact with the audience. I felt you fell between two stools, most of the time you were sincere with Cinderella, yet I felt you were dying to backchat to the audience. You do have to remember that then are children who really do want to believe in the FCC as real not pantomime. You had trouble with your wand. They are not easy to handle, and I felt possibly you had not rehearsed with one so long? You have to move it slowly not wave it about.

Grandicoso You looked g-od and characterised well

The Town Crier A very loud Town Crier: with the bell as well brandishes above the heads of the audience. Very much in character

FMGs attendants You all looked delightful and danced well and reacted one with another, and later sang with Buttons in one of the songs which was particularly good.

Villagers and Huntsmen Mostly animated all the time, its not easy I know. All in good voice with some good variation in the chorus work in the songs. You add greatly to the production with your warmth and enjoyment.

Rover I do commend anyone who plays the pantomime horse. It is so much more difficult than it appears, and you had so little space. A most effective member of the cast. Well done both:

One of the best pantomimes in a village hall that I see, there are limitations, but they are mostly beyond your control - the general acting and production is of a high standard - and you all appear to enjoy yourselves all the time. Thank you for asking me to come

 

Roseanne Kirkpatrick